If you’re starting a cleaning business, a good thing to get first is a solid utility van.
Running a cleaning business is hard, but running one without a utility vehicle to hold your industrial cleaning equipment is near impossible. Buying a van that’s set up with what you need can get pretty expensive and it can be hard to know what you should focus on.
Today, we’re going to try and help you figure this problem out. We’re going to tell you 7 tips to help you choose the best utility van for your business so you can get on with doing what you do best, being an entrepreneur.
Don’t overthink this decision. Follow our guide and you’ll be riding in style while turning your small-time business into a cleaning empire. Let’s get started.
How to Choose a Utility Van for Your Cleaning Business: Tips and Tricks
When you start a cleaning business, there a few key things that you need. The type of cleaning that you’re doing will dictate what those things are. If you’re doing small, residential cleans, then you just need basic supplies and a small vehicle that can hold them.
Entering the commercial cleaning world is a little bit different. Since you’ll be cleaning a much larger place, you need to consider things like buffers, industrial vacuums, larger quantities of cleaning supplies. After you’ve gotten all of this stuff, you’ll need something to transport it: your utility van.
1. Choosing Your Size
Your first consideration should be what you need out of the utility van. This goes back to the type of business you’re going to be running. If it’s a small scale window washing business, then you don’t need a huge van with all the bells and whistles.
But, if you’re hauling around a literal ton of industrial cleaning equipment with truck mount systems, buffers, and vacuums, then you’ll need something to house all that stuff.
2. What’re You Transporting?
So, to help you decide, write down all of the equipment that you’re going to buy for your specific cleaning business. Seeing it all on paper and then visualizing it in the back of the van will help you decide how big to go.
A Mercedes Sprinter or something smaller like a Ford Transit is a great van for driving distances and hauling a lot of equipment, but the heavier stuff might give it problems. Something like the Chevy Express might work better for hauling the industrial equipment, but you’ll have less overall space for everything else.
You’ll also be more likely to find a used Express or Savana that’s already set up as a utility vehicle. Many people use, abuse, and sell them to dealers and private buyers, making them a more affordable option when you’re starting out.
The number of doors and their configuration can tell you a lot about the functionality of the vehicle for your business. Some have sliding one side door, while others might have sliding doors on both sides.
Certain Chevy models have the dutch doors on the side and back, while other vans have a rear-liftgate, similar to a minivan. This is not something to overlook because you want your van to work with you, not against you. Think about how different door configurations will work for you and let that inform your decision.
When you buy new, you’ll be given a range of powertrain options. Basically, when you start to use this van a lot, you’re going to care about things like gas mileage, your van’s ability to haul, and how the weight affects the gas mileage and performance of the vehicle.
Smaller vans generally offer better gas mileage, but it’ll be near impossible to haul anything of any heft. Bigger ones like the Sprinter and Express can pull their weight, but at what cost? Definitely research this and figure out what’s in your best interest.
5. Other Features
Again, buying new offers you a lot of choices when it comes to features and add-ons. Like we said earlier, you can easily find cargo-ready models on the used market, but it requires some searching.
By now, you should have an idea of how you want the van to be configured, especially in the back cargo area, but definitely take a look at some of the tech features available to you as well.
Starting a business is hard and it can get expensive fast. The startup costs of running a cleaning business might be a little bit less than other types of entrepreneurial endeavors, but things add up.
The cost of your utility van will probably be the pinnacle of this initial spending, but it’s arguably the most important piece of equipment that you’ll own. When you buy new, expect to pay anywhere from $30,000 to $50,000, depending on which features you decide to tack on.
7. Buying Used
Buying used will give you a little bit more wiggle room, but don’t try to get something too cheap, because you don’t know where it’s been and what it’s seen. Buying something that’s 15 years old is probably going to be more trouble than it’s worth, but something 5-7 years old might run just as well as a new van.
If you’re diligent, you can find a great deal and get it a clean bill of health for much less than buying a whole new van. Do some research into production years for different models, which will give you an indication of how far back you can go before a van is too out of date.
At the end of the day, deciding to buy new or used will depend on how much money you’ve got to work with.
Follow Your Heart
As long as you’ve done your research and you’re not buying a lemon, you just need to follow your heart to find the right utility van for your cleaning business. There are loads of makes and models to choose from, all of which have pros and cons.
If you know your business and what you need, it should be an easy decision in the end. Now that you’ve got your van picked out, you can focus on growing your new cleaning business.
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